Author: - Santa Monica Pier

Los Angeles is filled with many different habitats. These habitats range from city parks to
mountains, from ponds to the beach, and all of them have different factors that make them
unique. By looking at different areas in and around Los Angeles, students will be able to
learn about their community and what makes it unique, as well as what organisms are suited
to live there. Students will be able to:
 Identify different habitats in and around Los Angeles
 Describe some of the major habitats found in Los Angeles
 Recognize external features necessary for survival in one habitat vs. another
 Identify an animal’s habitat based on its external features
 Recognize a 2-D representation of Los Angeles
California Science Standards, Grade 1
Plants and animals meet their needs in different ways. As a basis for understanding this
1. Students know different plants and animals inhabit different kinds of environments
and have external features that help them thrive in different kinds of places.
2. Students know both plants and animals need water, animals need food, and plants
need light.
3. Students know animals eat plants or other animals for food and may also use plants
or even other animals for shelter and nesting.
Environmental Principles & Concepts (EEI) corresponding learning objectives:
 Recognize that natural systems (environments) provide the resources (goods and
ecosystem services) for survival for plants and animals.
 Provide examples of the external features of plants and animals that help them live in
a particular environment and obtain the resources they need to survive there.
 Describe human activities that can influence the function of natural systems and the
availability of resources for plants and animals.
 Explain that if there are significant changes to natural systems (environments) plants
and animals may not be able to survive in those areas.
 Provide examples of things that humans do that can influence the availability of
resources needed by plants and animals (including humans).
Large fold out map of Los Angeles (Such as the Borch fold out Los Angeles map), long rope
or chalk (to draw on blacktop), Los Angeles Habitat Cards, Organism Cards
Hold up a large fold out map of Los Angeles and point out where they live/are and where
the beach and mountains are (it is crucial that students understand the map and where
they are on the map before preceding).
Point out some of the key features that the students might know in order to give them
reference, such as the beach, downtown, and their neighborhood.
Lay the map down on the floor in a large open space. Take the rope or chalk and create
an outline of Los Angeles around the map (make it large enough where students can
walk around inside it).
Point out the same locations (beach, downtown and their neighborhood) on the larger
Hold up a habitat card and ask the students to describe what they see. Ask them if they
know where in Los Angeles they might find that particular habitat? (If students do not
know, help them find the location in Los Angeles that the habitat can be found)
Next, locate their Los Angeles habitat on the map and place it in the corresponding area
on the large chalk/rope outline.
Once all of the cards have been placed, give the students a few minutes to walk around
and take a virtual tour of LA.
After the student have had enough time to take the virtual tour ask them what some of
the differences are among the various areas.
Take out the organism cards, show the picture, and read the back of the card to find out
the animal’s needs.
Point out some of the external features of the animal. Ask the students: what is it used
for? Which habitat would be the best home for this animal?
After each card is read, have a few students stand in the Los Angeles habitat where they
think that animal is likely to live. Have the students explain why they chose one habitat
over another.
If students select different habitats for the same organism, begin a discussion about the
organisms adaptations and where they will be best suited.
If students select an incorrect habitat correct them by asking questions that help them
determine the correct answer. Such as:
o What does your animal eat and is it found there?
o Can they get enough water?
o Is there a good place for them to hide? Where?
o Ask students what a certain feature on an animal would be good for? (heron’s
long legs are good for wading.)
When all organisms have been shown and placed in their proper habitat, remind the
students that all of the habitats are located in their city of Los Angeles.
Sandy Shore
• The sandy beach area
next to the ocean
• Always changing
because of the waves
and tides
• Heavily used by people
Oak Woodland
• Big trees (oak)
• Trees are spread out
and are surrounded by
bushes and grasses.
• Acorns, from the oak
trees, are food for many
Downtown - City
• Tall buildings that trap
heat in the summer,
wind in the winter
• Lots of metal, concrete,
and wires
• Noisy
• Steep hills
• Very dry
• Low bushes, shrubs,
and grasses
Salt Marsh
• Thick, tall grasses
• Found near coast
• Covered by salt water
Western Gull
• Webbed feet to help it
• Eats crabs, dead fish, or
anything it can find
• Feet good for holding
onto branches and
• Beak good for pecking
and eating seeds and
small bits of food
• Live in large groups
• Long legs good for
• Long pointy beak good
for catching fish
• Nests in marsh grass
Ground Squirrel
• Live in underground
• Eat seeds, bugs, and
• Good paws for digging
• Eat grasses and leaves
• Fast runner
• Hide in the woods